Affordable textbook bill introduced in the Senate
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined Sens. Al Franken (D-MN) and Angus King (I-ME) in introducing a bill that would allow free access to college textbooks last week.
The Affordable College Textbook Act would establish a competitive grant program that would support open license textbooks for use by students, faculty and the public. Any textbook created using federal funds would be accessible for free.
For publishers it would establish requirements that would facilitate the individual sale of text materials rather than forcing bundled purchases.
Durbin pointed out that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign developed an open license textbook in 2012 that has been used successfully in several universities nationally as well as in the open online course website, Coursera.
“The Affordable College Textbook Act can replicate and build on the successes we’ve already seen in Illinois,” Durbin said. “I hope college faculty throughout the country will explore the opportunities that exist today to use open source materials in their courses to save students money and I hope my colleagues in Congress will support this legislation to provide federal support to that effort.”
A similar bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX) and Jared Polis (D-CO).
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